Bruichladdich and ex-wine cask maturation go hand in hand. The distillery has never been shy to use ex-wine casks, but today’s release is from an independent bottler. Spiritfilled’s Bruichladdich 13 Years ‘Mythical Beasts’ matured in a Callejo wine barrique.
For Bruichladdich’s original fascination with wine casks we have to go back to 1994, when Murray McDavid was established. You might wonder why I bring in another independent bottler, but there’s good reason for it. Or maybe you totally know where I’m going with this, in which case you should feel free to skip ahead.
Murray McDavid was co-founded by wine merchants Mark Reynier and Simon Coughlin. They quickly gained a reputation for maturing whisky in compelling casks, especially former wine casks. When the Murray McDavid team set out to reopen Bruichladdich Distillery in 2000, they applied similar adventurous principles to maturation of its whisky.
Mark Reynier left Bruichladdich after Remy Cointreau purchased the distillery. Simon Coughlin retired just last year. And Murray McDavid is now owned by Scotch whisky broker Aceo Ltd. But ex-wine maturation has become part of Bruichladdich’s DNA. The distillery has fully embraced the use of ex-wine casks
It can’t be a coincidence many independently bottled Bruichladdich comes from these casks as well. Having said that, I much prefer Bruichladdich from (refill) ex-bourbon casks. The distillery’s spirit is so distinct that I wouldn’t want to hide it too much behind cask influence.
I can’t be entirely sure, but it seems like the Bruichladdich 13 Years ‘Mythical Beasts’ matured fully in a Callejo wine barrique. Hopefully there’s some distillery character still present.
Bruichladdich 13 Years ‘Mythical Beasts’ (54%, Spiritfilled, C#2239)
Nose: A mixture of milk chocolate, cinnamon and cereal notes to start things off, then followed by subtle notes of strawberries, melted butter, some tinned peaches and gentle candied fruits. Taste: Nice viscosity, but then a somewhat hot arrival with chili heat, followed by sweet oranges, cardamom, black pepper and juicy red fruits. Not as well-rounded as the nose, slightly more aggressive. Finish: Medium length. A good amount of cloves, a whisper of star anise and some feint red fruits.
The Bruicladdich 13 Years Mythical Beasts noses beautifully, displaying some distillery character alongside the ex-wine casks notes. The palate is less sophisticated and leaves a little something to be desired. Overall enjoyable, but it feels like there was potential for more.